By Jesse Wood
While Drew Stanley, who has worked at Appalachian Ski Mtn. since 1999, enjoys the four seasons of the High Country, winter is undoubtedly his favorite.
Stanley pretty much grew up at the Blowing Rock ski resort with his father Steve overseeing the resort’s operations, such as snowmaking and grooming, for years now. Stanley started skiing when he was 16 months old. Stanley made a habit of coming to work early with his father and then hitting the slopes when he wasn’t in class.
In high school, he started working at Appalachian Ski Mtn. and volunteered to build terrain parks for performing tricks on skis and snowboards. This was about the time – late ‘90s and early 2000s – when terrain parks emerged as a niche market in the ski industry. Stanley built the first terrain park at Appalachian Ski Mtn., which today has grown to feature three parks and 60-plus features, from scratch.
For five summers, he also worked at Momentum Summer Camp at Whistler in British Columbia. This glacier community is one of the epicenters of summer ski culture and where Stanley became an expert at building terrain park building.
In between winters in Blowing Rock and summers in British Columbia, Stanley was still itching for winter sports. In the late summers, Stanley and his local high school buddies would head over to the gas station to buy a dozen bags of ice to run through the wood chipper.
This worked well enough to hit some aerials on the ski and snowboard features they made out of PVC pipe and wooden timbers. While waiting for the cold weather, he’d also duct tape skis to regular shoes and perform tricks on the trampoline in his backyard.
“A one-track mind – or a two-track mind since I’m a skier,” Stanley said.
For the past 11 years, Stanley has been the marketing and terrain park director at Appalachian Ski Mtn., a position that General Manager Brad Moretz carved out for the younger Stanley.
“The terrain park is here because of Drew. I think that would be fair to say. That was his passion and we signed on,” Moretz said.
“He’s just passionate about creating a different venue and fun on the slopes, and people have really responded to that. We are really lucky to have Drew as part of our organization and I feel fortunate to have him as a friend.”
The community has noticed Stanley’s impact, too. At last weekend’s Daniel Boone Rail Jam in the Horn in the West amphitheater, Stanley was awarded the inaugural Mountain’s Most Mellow Award.
Sponsored by Mellow Mushroom and Appalachian Mountain Brewery, this new award recognizes someone in the outdoor industry that promotes what the High Country has to offer, according to Chase Luddeke of the local Mellow Mushroom franchises.
“Drew has done that for a really long time up here and has always been a really integral part of making the rail jam happen and other events over the years,” Luddeke said. “It seems fitting that he’s the first one.”
Stanley said he was “super surprised and honored” to win the award.
Overall, Stanley said he has a blast working odd hours and digging through the snow, underneath snow guns to see the terrain park features come to fruition, so the younger kids can have the opportunity to learn, progress and enjoy the slopes.
“I can’t thank the Moretz family enough for etching out this position for me and watching it grow. It’s been incredible, and I look forward to getting up everyday and getting out on the snow some and being in the winter sports industry.”
Speech About Stanley at Rail Jam
by Brad Moretz
Drew’s passion is skiing and bringing other people into the sport and into the Terrain Parks.
When Drew was a teenager, he would come to Appalachian Ski Mtn. after the end of the season, set up a rail on a big patch of snow and then hike and ride, hike and ride, hike and ride. And then when the snow was gone, he would duct-tape his shoes to his skis and do tricks on a trampoline at home.
When Drew was in High School, Drew built Appalachian Ski Mtn’s first Terrain Park at a time when no one in this area used the words “terrain park.”
Drew became an expert at creating features at the Momentum Summer Camp at Whistler, where he spent summers for 6 years, becoming the lead staff person (Head Digger) at this renowned camp.
Drew has been the Marketing & Terrain Park Director at Appalachian Ski Mtn. for 11 years. He has developed numerous promotions and events to bring people to the mountain and to App Terrain Park. Among other things Drew developed the region’s first progression park, the Shred For The Cup Series, and Appalachian’s signature season-ending Pond Skim Contest.
He is always looking for new ways to bring people to the snow to share his passion.